Tag Archives: Nova Scotia

HAPPY 150 YEARS, CANADA!

Today Canada is officially 150 years old!

In the emblem below, the thirteen diamonds of the maple leaf represent the ten provinces and three territories that make up Canada. The four red diamonds represent the four original provinces at confederation in 1867. Nova Scotia is one of those four.

There is much griping going on in some minds about it’s not being 150 years for all parts of Canada (and there are other reasons) so it’s not everyone’s celebration. In my opinion (for which you didn’t ask) that is hogwash! Canada is Canada. There will always be naysayers, no matter what country or reason of celebration. I get it that many feel because of some shameful and horrible historical events and practices and situations it’s not a happy celebration for them. I get that. And I understand that indigenous history goes back thousands of years before this, so let’s celebrate that, too. Can’t we come together and work on it? Can’t we make it better? This is a great country! Many nations have things in their history, much are ongoing, that are not celebratory, but that doesn’t mean hope is abolished or abandoned.

Canada is a great country in size, too, second in land mass only to Russia. Just to give some comparison – the United States is fourth in size, after China. 

In celebration of 150 years, Parks Canada is making available – until the end of 2017 – free passes to Canada’s national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas. This is a good year to follow through on your plans to visit Canada. Also, the tall ships are going to be visiting 11 different communities in Nova Scotia throughout this summer. All across the country there are special events taking place this year.

Currently, in Halifax harbour here in NS, the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier is anchored. Hopefully you can access this webcam view of the harbour, and this you tube video of the Eisenhower.  

And look at this flower! The Canada 150 tulip, also known as the Maple Leaf tulip, is the official tulip of Canada 150. It resembles the Canadian flag through special breeding of two different varieties of tulips. Isn’t that fabulous?

Canada’s contribution is significant in helping during world crises; my own father was a soldier in the Canadian Army that Liberated the Netherlands during World War II. Canada does have its problems and contradictions (who doesn’t?), but we are unified more than many other nations, and basically we are peace-loving. In fact, we’re mostly looking pretty good. Out of 155 countries we have been rated as the 7th happiest. (Below, I’m including only the first 20 on the list to show you.) Canada has been known as the best place to visit, to live, and to learn.  🙂  I love it here. 

1. Norway (7.537) 2. Denmark (7.522) 3. Iceland (7.504) 4. Switzerland (7.494) 5. Finland (7.469) 6. Netherlands (7.377) 7. Canada (7.316) 8. New Zealand (7.314) 9. Australia (7.284) 10. Sweden (7.284) 11. Israel (7.213) 12. Costa Rica (7.079) 13. Austria (7.006) 14. United States (6.993) 15. Ireland (6.977) 16. Germany (6.951) 17. Belgium (6.891) 18. Luxembourg (6.863) 19. United Kingdom (6.714) 20. Chile (6.652) 

So, HAPPY NATIONAL BIRTHDAY TO ALL MY FELLOW CANADIANS, AND THOSE TO COME. As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says, we welcome you!

Are you doing anything special this year to celebrate Canada’s birthday? (I’ve just done it — this blog post. 🙂 )

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

A Footnote:  A dear friend in the US sent me this music video, very moving and beautiful.

 

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Book Review: Eagle of the Sea – by Kristin Bieber Domm

 

 

 

 


Book: Eagle of the Sea
Author: Kristin Bieber Domm
Illustrator: Jeffrey C. Domm
Publisher: Nimbus Publishing
Date: March 1, 2011
Genre: Children's picture book; age 4 - 8; Preschool - 3 
Pages: 32
Price: $9.95
My rating: An informative story about the bald eagle

On a weekend away with my husband last autumn I purchased this little book in a gift shop. Just look at the sharp eye of the eagle on the cover of Eagle of the Sea written by Kristin Bieber Domm. Her husband, Jeffrey C. Domm is an accomplished illustrator, and his illustrations in this book are fabulous.

Eagle of the Sea is written in first person so the reader is told the eagle’s story from its own experience. The eagle tells what it looks like and how those features are of benefit, where it lives, how it hunts and brings up its young with its mate. Included are many fascinating facts about eagles, such as why it’s called the bald eagle. Many people don’t realize that “bald” is the word for “marked with white.”

Where I live I can see at least one eagle almost every day, often more. In fact, while writing this post I stopped to take my little dog outside for a few minutes. Instead of letting her run loose behind our house as I occasionally do, I felt this time I should keep her on leash. I’m glad I did! While Meyya was snuffling around in the grass, an eagle soared overhead, coming in closer and closer. I’m sure she had an eye on all eight pounds of little Meyya. To the eagle she would be the equivalent of a good-sized rabbit!

In Eagle of the Sea there is information about eagle watches here in Nova Scotia where this amazing bird is protected so that we now have a thriving population of them. They are an awe-inspiring bird, and easily recognized by their call, size, flight habits, and more. Kristin Bieber Domm has included all a young reader will want to know about eagles, and the illustrations by Jeffrey C. Domm are amazingly life-like.

You can find Eagle of the Sea by Kristin Bieber Domm on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Goodreads, and sometimes Chapters.Indigo.

Please encourage an author – leave a comment.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: The King of Keji – by Jan L. Coates

 

 

 

 


Book: The King of Keji
Author: Jan L. Coates
Illustrator: Patsy MacKinnon
Publisher: Nimbus Publishing Ltd.
Date: September 1, 2015
Genre: children's picture book; age 5 - 8;  K - 3
Pages: 32
Price: $12.95
My rating: lovely story of discovering treasures hidden 
in plain sight

The King of Keji by Jan L. Coates is another book I purchased at the children’s book fair in 2016. Personal note: When Nova Scotia’s Kejimkujik National Park was in its early development stage my dad was one of the skilled workers on site making that happen. I was a young girl then and one weekend my mother, sister, and I went along and stayed overnight with Dad in one of the cabins a short but safe distance from the construction.

In The King of Keji we meet Jacob, a young boy who is tired of being second to his older brother. His brother is always king of the castle which makes Jacob the dirty rascal – a nursery rhyme game – so his grandfather teaches Jacob about being a king in nature. Gramps takes Jacob to Kejimkujik National Part for a weekend of camping, hiking, and searching for hidden treasure. Hidden treasure is different from buried treasure, so Jacob learns to look for the things hidden in plain sight, things he would otherwise easily overlook.

They discuss what treasures a king would have and thought of a sceptre,  antiques, turquoise, diamonds, jade, emeralds, and several more. Jacob finds a long piece of driftwood that works well as a sceptre and they set out. While hiking, Gramps takes pictures of the things they find. Some of the treasures were the emerald-green leaves of an ancient hemlock tree, the diamond sparkle of the lake, the jade colour of frogs sitting on moss-covered rocks, and the gold and ruby colours of the sunset that night. Jacob feels like a king with all that treasure – even though they took nothing away with them except pictures – and learns how to be more observant and respectful of his surroundings.

The King of Keji is a story very well told, full of description and the allurement of a nature hike in one of Nova Scotia’s beautiful provincial parks. The illustrations by Patsy MacKinnon are full of nature’s colours. The reader gets to appreciate the variety found in Keji park from the huge trees along the hiking trails, to the animals that live there and in the salt marsh, to the glorious sky as the sun is setting.

The King of Keji by Jan L. Coates encourages readers to be more aware of what’s around them in nature, and to appreciate the treasures already provided for us.

You can find The King of Keji by Jan L. Coates on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Goodreads, and sometimes Chapters.Indigo.

Thank you for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

 

Book Review: Fiddles & Spoons: Journey of an Acadian Mouse – by Lila Hope-Simpson

fiddles-and-spoons

 

 

 




Book: Fiddles & Spoons: Journey of an Acadian Mouse
Author: Lila Hope-Simpson
Illustrator: Doretta Groenendyk
Publisher: DPG: Dery Publishing Group
Date: 2004
Genre: children's historical fiction; age 5-9, gr K-4
Pages: 32
Price: $17.95
My rating: historical event wonderfully-told for children

This is one of the beautiful books I purchased at the children’s book fair in 2016, although my copy has a different cover, as you see below. Apparently, the image above is the newer edition which includes more illustrations.

fiddles-spoons-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiddles & Spoons: Journey of an Acadian Mouse is written by Canadian author Lila Hope-Simpson, who, in fact, lives only a few miles from me. Illustrator Doretta Groenendyk is also a local artist.

First of all, look at this dedication – which seems very suited to the times we are living in – that she wrote in her book:  This book is dedicated to uprooted people from every place and time, whose spirits have proven that after adversity, life goes on.       And sometimes, there is even dancing.

Fiddles & Spoons is a historical fiction, fanciful for the child reader. This story is about a mouse family, the expulsion of the Acadians, and the will to survive.

In the small Acadian village of Grand Pré in Nova Scotia, Canada, life was good. Families worked hard to keep their village functioning and to make a life they could be proud of. The men built sturdy dykes to hold back the powerful tides of the Bay of Fundy, creating very fertile farmland along the coast – and those dykes are still there doing what they were intended to do.

Under the floorboards of the homestead of the hardworking Dubois family lived the Souris mouse family. They feasted on the crumbs that fell down through,  particularly enjoying Saturday nights when everyone danced and played their fiddles and spoons.

One night in 1755 it all changed. Soldiers marched in and separated the men from the women and children. Mama Souris was determined to not leave the Dubois family, so she and her family scurried along near the feet of all the people being forced onto boats. It was a long rugged trip until they finally arrived in a new land and were reunited with their loved ones. From there they had to start over. 

Lila Hope-Simpson told this story of an important historical event in a wonderful way, introducing children – and perhaps adult readers – to the Expulsion of the Acadians, which is a memorable part of local, and far-reaching, history. It is not heavy-handed so as to include lurid details of the atrocities committed against an honest, God-fearing people. On the other hand it is not overly gently told so that the drama cannot be felt and understood. 

Doretta Groenendyk‘s illustrations are colourful, playful, effective. I especially like the scenes of Minas Basin and Cape Blomidon which are very familiar to me.

You can find Fiddles & Spoons: Journey of an Acadian Mouse on my BUY THE BOOK page. 

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂 

What a winter was 2014-2015! Let me tell you my story

As goes life, 2015 is proving to be another year of challenges and concerns. I was going to share a little with you months ago; however, the way things have been going I am so very late starting it. It’s amazing to me how quickly we are almost half way through 2015! Perhaps you won’t mind indulging me anyway?

It seems there is always one grief or stress to deal with, hardly is one behind us then another is on the horizon, besides the ongoing ones. A cousin of my mum passed away during the winter; however, because of the tremendous amount of snow we were getting, and the storms that seemed never-ending for awhile, the funeral service was not held until May when family could get together again. Of course, the next day Dad didn’t remember anything about it.

In January our daughter in Alberta asked for our advice. She’d decided it was time to move home and had a job offer here in NS! After six years of being away it was a major life change for her, an exciting one for all of us. Once the plan was settled I got busy on this end of the country. Online shopping can be fun when looking for good secondhand furniture on Kijiji. After I found an apartment that way, located a few minutes from her new job, we also were able to get a washer, a dryer, and a table and chairs set for her. Our main concern, though, was that she was determined to drive home, about 3000 miles or about 5000 kilometers – in her jeep, with all her belongings – including her two adult cats. Alone. In the dead of winter.   um… NO!   We bought a ticket for my husband who flew out to Alberta the first of February to drive home with her. That was the beginning of a crazy week.

After arriving there and getting a good night’s sleep, the next day he and she packed her belongings into a U-haul rental trailer – so full he said they couldn’t have wedged in a box of kleenex. They drove farther north to briefly visit her friend from NS who has lived out there longer than she, then started their long journey home. Since the plan was to take turns – one sleeping when needing to while the other was driving and then switching roles – and with the cats in their enclosure taking up the back seat, there was only room to sleep sitting up in the front passenger seat … as comfortably as could be arranged.

Remember, this was in the worst of our unpredictable Canadian winter. Coming across the middle of the country they experienced frigid minus-degree temperatures and bitterly cold winds in which no one should be out in the elements in miles/kilometers of nothing but dangerous weather. Nevertheless, they passed a hitchhiker daring to do just that! The jeep was crammed so full they had no room for an extra passenger, so when they stopped at a little diner they told a police officer. The officer picked up the hitchhiker to find a place for him to stay the night; otherwise, that person very possibly would have succumbed to the elements. 

 Meanwhile …

It was my week at home (instead of at my dad’s), so I was trying to keep the house and myself warm. The challenge for me was our outdoor wood furnace which I had never loaded or maintained because my husband always took care of it. I just didn’t want to. Usually, most of the wood my husband lifts into it is very heavy, way beyond what I can lift. It’s actually whole tree trunks cut into three-foot lengths or so, much of it not even split as it’s not necessary because it burns well as it is. It was only split if it was not possible for him to lift whole. Fortunately, last winter’s stash of wood had more small-sized sticks available than usual, many of a size I could handle without injury – if I were careful in how I lifted, didn’t slip in the very deep snow, and could propel the wood into the furnace to properly load it for efficient airflow. 

Now, the wood my husband can load in is so big the furnace has to be reloaded only twice a day, morning and evening. The wood I could manage was much smaller, therefore it had to be replenished much more often as it burned quicker. Let me tell you, I got more exercise than I wanted!

Because …

Unfortunately, soon after my husband and daughter started their journey eastward, here in NS we were hit with a wild blizzard that dumped a few feet of snow on us. When that settled I found, because of how the ‘white stuff’ had drifted, I could still make my way through a path in the snow to keep the furnace stoked. Then, hardly had a way been cleared in this province when we were hit with a snowstorm. A huge one. With loads more snow. By the time that one ended I had so much snow I couldn’t get out my back door so had to battle my way out the front and around the house to the now buried path to the furnace. Did I say buried? There was no longer a path beside the truck which was half buried. (see top right photo below) I have never spent so much effort and energy repeatedly struggling through such deep snow, bitter cold, and biting wind – quite an experience for little me. It had to be done. I couldn’t let the fire die out, but the snow was so high and dense I couldn’t struggle through it anymore. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it but I was determined not to ask for help for as long as I could hold out.

snow halfway up our back doorMORE snow, truck half buried

can't get in this way our back door from the outside

 

 

 

 

That’s when my dear father-in-law came to my rescue. That morning he arrived on his tractor equipped with snowplow and blower, after I’d been shovelling in an attempt to clear snow off my deck so I could open the door and also begin a new path to the furnace. If you look at the above photos, the bottom right one, my path was along the front of the deck railing on the right, across what was our lawn and up a rise.The snow was very heavy and packed solid, so by that time I was so depleted of energy I’d given up for awhile and gone inside to warm up and gain some energy back. I told my dad-in-law I would finish the deck, just had to stop awhile because I was so exhausted, but I would do it. He insisted on doing it for me. Bless his heart. I knew he was not feeling well, either, but he still insisted despite my objections. He got it done much quicker than I could have, for sure. I certainly appreciate him, he’s a good man.

Dad D clearing deck for meDad D plowing for me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As for the travellers …

My husband and daughter stayed in a hotel one night – a place that allowed her cats – because it was a long stretch of nothing they were on, getting on for dark, with no idea what they might encounter since it was blustery and very, very cold. I’m sure they slept better that night; the rest of the time they slept on route.

In less than five days they made it home and I was so excited to get my arms around them! I’d prayed much for their safe travels. Interestingly,  they missed all the storms since it began storming in Alberta after they left so the bad weather heading east was always behind them, and the worst happened in Nova Scotia before they arrived. 🙂  Granted, there was a lot of snow clearing for my beloved to undertake once he got back, and he felt sorry I’d been stuck with so much to handle while he was away, but I survived!  🙂  (And now he knows I can load that darn furnace if the wood is small enough. ah well.)

In this photo (left), with more snow coming down, I was leaning on a snowbank under which was our lawn swinging-chairs set. Somewhere.
I am happy to say there is NO SNOW now. 🙂  How I do love Spring and Summer!

too much snow!I'm leaning on a snowbank

 

 

 

The last thing I’ll say for now is this …

My dad – who will be 90 in a few days – is getting worse (wretched Alzheimer’s, and weak heart) but is still spunky and usually cheerful; and another dear family member has been recently diagnosed with Mesothelioma (incurable cancer) with not much time left with us. Some days life’s stresses feel so heavy on me, but then I remember the Lord is my Strength and the Song and Light in my heart. If God is for me, who can be against me?

I wish you each a sweet song in your heart.

What has been going on in your life? How do you cope? What joys do you have to share with us?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

 


 

 

 

Book Review: Devil’s Hump – by Syr Ruus

Devil's Hump
Book: Devil’s Hump
Author: Syr Ruus
Publisher: etc. Press Ltd., Canada
Date: August 2013
Genre: regional fiction
Pages: 148
Price: $20.00
My rating: an amazing tale to satisfy the mind

 

I purchased this book from the author, and what a treat. Syr Ruus has written an amazing tale to satisfy the mind. She believes “one shouldn’t take the time to write what is already on the bookshelf” and – since this approach does not work for everyone – I admire her for daring to be different and succeeding at it. Her writing is compelling. Devil’s Hump is not like any novel I have ever read, which is certainly not a bad thing. It was intriguing and kept me curious and reading.

The story around Devil’s Hump begins in the early 1920’s on a fictional island off Nova Scotia, Canada. (FYI: there are hundreds of small islands off Nova Scotia’s coast so it could be similar to several of them.)

Devil’s Hump is written in five sections, each addressing a pivotal character in the story. Although separated it’s not disjointed because each part relates back to, and interconnects with, the main story in a very interesting way. The reader gets to know each character and to appreciate how they individually saw and understood the events that happened. When reaching the ending to this marvellous story, the reader may wonder ‘what if?’ while at the same time being satisfied with how it wraps up.

Syr Ruus wrote a very interesting and well-constructed novel. Although it is not always advisable to try to write the way people speak because it can get hard to follow, Syr Ruus did this and effectively mastered it, adding so much depth and realism to the story. The dialect helps to shape the characters and brings the reader right into the old General Store to eavesdrop and nod along with the locals eager for the latest gossip and opinion-sharing.

You see, there was a series of dramatic events that occurred – a diphtheria epidemic, deaths, dramatic life-altering decisions, mystery surrounding one particular secluded family, a newcomer, a discovery. No one knows all the details of how it played out, except one person thinks he knows. Most of it. Only the reader is permitted the luxury of that knowledge. It is well worth the read to that end.

Devil’s Hump is sold in a very few Nova Scotia shops and not on the Internet, but it can easily be ordered directly from the author. Please write to her at: syr(at)eastlink(dot)ca

For anyone local who has the chance to attend a book reading, Syr Ruus is reading from her novel, Devil’s Hump, on Tuesday, August 19 at the LaHave Islands Museum Hall on Bells Island (as the novel was inspired by the LaHave Islands) from 3-5 p.m.

If you would like to contact or connect with Syr Ruus through Facebook, she has two locations: Her personal Facebook page is HERE where she uses her full name of Sirje Ruus, and her Author Facebook page is HERE

You can find Devil’s Hump listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

Arthur, the unwelcome visitor

Have you ever had the experience of a visitor who came uninvited and left not a moment too soon?

Have you tolerated the overbearing presence of that visitor knowing it was a limited stay?

Have you had major clean-up after the visitor finally left?

Arthur … Hurricane for some, but tropical storm for us here in Nova Scotia, was just such a visitor. Some areas were a week without power after that visit, some still have serious damage to clean up.

At my house we had no storm damage, but here is what it looked like at my dad’s after Arthur left.

downed hummingbird vine.This is the hummingbird vine that grows up against the two-storey house all the way to the roof. The trellis was pushed over by the ferocious wind and the vine was damaged so had to be cut to half its height once it was hoisted back up into place. 

downed hummingbird vine2It had fallen into the lower driveway, blocking it.

This vine will be covered in gorgeous red trumpet blooms the hummingbirds love to feed from in the summer.

 

wrecked mapleThis is the side of the house on the upper driveway. The huge maple trees, one in particular, took quite a beating.

The driveway was totally blocked until my husband, and my cousin who happened along, sawed the heavy limbs and got the wood out of there.

wrecked maple2You can see the limbs from one tree hung up on  the tree next to it.

Dad and I heard the crashing of the limbs when they were being torn off the tree.

 

top of tree downI apologize for the poor quality of this photo which I took through the screened window overlooking the driveway at the back of the house. What you see there is the top of the tree in the above image. The wind had snapped it off and driven it over the roof and onto the driveway at the far corner of the house. The thing about that is I’d had Meyya (my Schnoodle pup) out awhile before and I am very thankful we were not out when that happened because it probably would have hit us.

Arthur was a blustery, noisy, destructive visitor. Fortunately, his stay was a short one because, unfortunately, the impact of that stay was longer.

Every season has its wonder, its beauty, and its hazards. Even so, I love it here in Nova Scotia.

What do you contend with where you live? What about where you live keeps you there?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂